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A look at last 8 hours before the execution

Published: Friday, Oct. 15 1999 12:00 a.m. MDT

UTAH STATE PRISON -- Late Wednesday, Joseph Mitchell Parsons was moved from his regular cell on death row to the death watch cell, not far from the execution chamber, in preparation for his last day.

Eight hours before he took his walk toward the room where he would die by lethal injection, prison officials began the standard procedure of documenting the final acts of his life. Here is a snapshot of those final hours:4:00 p.m. -- Parsons is pacing his cell but is talkative. He tells guards he was tired and nodding off while watching "The Mummy" video.

4:09 p.m. -- Parsons' brother and cousin arrive to visit. Warden Hank Galetka allows the visit to take place inside the cell.

4:30 p.m. -- Parsons is laughing and joking around.

5:00 p.m. -- Parsons and visitors are playing the card game "Uno."

5:08 p.m. -- Parsons shares his final meal with his visitors. The three dine on Burger King hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes.

6:00 p.m. -- The card games continues through the hour. He drinks root beer and appears to be in good spirits.

6:45 p.m. -- Parsons is visited by the prison physician's assistant and two deputy wardens. Parsons requests no medical assistance.

7:10 p.m. -- Parsons requests a serving of chocolate chip ice cream, which he shares with his brother and cousin. They are all laughing and having fun. Parsons offers ice cream to the prison staff, which declines.

7:53 p.m. -- Parsons asks for the score of the American League Championship Series game between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.

8:37 p.m. -- Parsons asks for an update on the ballgame.

8:41 p.m. -- Parsons is laughing and has a good attitude. Prison officials describe him as very alert.

9:03 p.m. -- Parsons makes a phone call to his mother, Marie Gordon, in Florida.

9:15 p.m. -- Parsons concludes the 15-minute conversation with his mother and asks to call his sister. He also asks prison officials for some mangoes.

10:00 p.m. -- The mood shifts. Parsons and his visitors are very somber and are not talking much.

10:10 p.m. -- Parsons begins discussing chess and other games of strategy with visitors. He begins a game of gin with his brother. The mood is still somber, but there is occasional laughter.

10:35 p.m. -- Parsons is more upbeat. He is laughing and joking with his visitors.

10:38 p.m. -- Parsons is explaining the prison ventilation system to his visitors.

10:45 p.m. -- Parsons is given 15 minutes to conclude the visit with family.

10:50 p.m. -- Mood is somber. Parsons playing cards.

10:58 p.m. -- Parsons says farewells to his brother and cousin.

11:00 p.m. -- Parsons stands at rear of cell. Visitors are escorted out of cell and death watch area.

11:10 p.m. -- Physician's assistant visits Parsons and asks if he wants something to "take the edge off." Parsons declines.

11:13 p.m. -- Parsons sitting on chair talking to staff and says it is difficult to "get comfortable."

11:24 p.m. -- Galetka returns. Parsons seems in good spirits.

11:30 p.m. -- He talks to staff. Parsons says he doesn't want to shave.

11:37 p.m. -- Parsons is playing chess with staff members.

11:45 p.m. -- Parsons wins chess game. He appears more relaxed and in good spirits.

11:50 p.m. -- Parsons and staff are talking about the science fiction videos he watched.

11:55 p.m. -- Parsons is talking about politics and taxes. He remains upbeat.

11:55 p.m. -- Deputy Warden Scott Carver and the tie down team (which prepared Parsons for the execution) enters the death watch cell. Parsons is strip searched and given clean clothes. He remains calm.

11:58 p.m. -- Parsons is restrained and removed from the cell.

11:59 p.m. -- Parsons exits with the tie down team and is escorted by Carver.

12:10 a.m. -- Parsons is given lethal injection.

12:17 a.m. -- A medical professional enters the execution chamber and checks Parsons' vital signs.

12:18 a.m. -- Parsons is pronounced dead.

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